Chew toys should always be selected with your dog’s safety and health in mind. The dried animal skin that comprises rawhide can cause blockages if swallowed, while other animal-derived chews have potential hazards ranging from bacteria contamination to digestive problems, or even chipped teeth.
Rather than risk chew toys with potential sides to your dog’s health, check out our selection of the best natural dog chews.
– Bully sticks (sometimes also called pizzles) are popular chew sticks made from the penis of a bull or steer.
– The hard cheese chews are made from yak and cow’s milk, without artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors. Dogs tend to respond to the savory treat by scraping and licking, rather than gnawing, which can give these hard cheese treats a surprisingly long chew time.
– These one-ingredient chews are made with pure fish skins—either cod or wolffish. The fish skins are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have numerous health benefits for dogs, including relief from osteoarthritis symptoms and improved cognitive function
– Nylabone is known for their hard nylon chew toys, but its line of Healthy Edibles dog chews are made from wheat and potato starch, making them easily digestible. ..
– Teething puppies really need to chew for relief, but its best for them to learn on something other than your fingers and furniture. The ridges and rings are soothing on sore gums and make it easy for puppies to grasp with their paws.
– Puppy Benebones are made out of hard nylon with added real bacon for extra chewing motivation.
– The durable Zogoflex Qwizl from West Paw is a versatile fun toy. There’s a slot down the center where you can hide kibble, bully sticks, or other tempting treats to challenge your pup to dig them out.
What to Look for in Natural Dog Chews
Choose the treat based on your dog’s size. If it’s too small, it could end up being a choking hazard. If it’s too large for your dog, they could get frustrated because they can’t hold it with their mouth or their paws.
Companies will often list where the ingredients came from. We like that our recommended bully sticks, for example, come from free-range, grass-fed cattle.
The best natural chews shouldn’t have additives or preservatives or chemicals from processing. Bully sticks, for example, should be 100% beef. Many of our recommendations use only a handful of recognizable ingredients, which can be helpful in narrowing down any food sensitivities, should your dog react poorly to a chew treat.
Many chews do contain calories, often more than other types of treats, so you’ll want to take that into account when you think about your dog’s overall daily caloric needs. If your vet says your dog should be on a diet, it’s best to consult with them about they type and frequency of the treats you offer.